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Written By: Mister Jalopy 


Multi-tool (1) 


Pagoda lanterns (String of 16) 

A Chinatown staple. Quality control 

varies, so test before vou leave the 


R/C Car Battery Pack and Connector 

Repair Kit (1) 

Conveniently, RadioShack sells the 

perfect interface between the battery 

pack and the lanterns 

Connecting wire (1) 

18-aauqe speaker wire is more 

expensive than thinner, clear-insulation 

wire that would accomplish the same 

task. Greater compromises have been 

made in the name of aesthetics 

Butt splice crimp connectors (1) 


Swanky picnics, exotic tailgate parties, or cherry blossom backyard springtime wonderlands 

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all benefit from a set of Chinatown lanterns - but what if there's not an electrical outlet within 
extension cord reach? What if you want your pup tent, phone booth, or shopping cart to look 
like an opium den? Convert to battery power! 

RadioShack sells a battery for a remote control car and a conector repair kit that are perfect 
to convert a string of lanterns to be 100% mobile. Rather than soldering the whole mess 
together, use butt splice connectors that crimp the wires together with a single tool - a 
combo wire cutter, stripper, and crimper. 

Will you install your lanterns as 70s-style lowrider headliner pom-poms? I hope so. I did. 

Step 1 — Cut wire to length 

• To determine the wire length 
between lanterns, decide the total 
length of your new string and divide 
by the number of pagoda lamps 
minus one. 

• For example, I wanted a 252" (21') 
string of 15 lights, so my formula is 
252/(1 5-1 )=1 8" for each length. 

• The string of lights comes with 16 
lanterns, so why did I pick 15? In 
case of mishap, I will have a 
backup lantern. 

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Step 2 — Separate and strip 

• For each length of wire, split the 
insulation with your fingernail to 
separate the red and black wires. 

• Use the strippers to remove 3/8" of 
insulation from the wire segments 
and 5/8" from the lantern pigtail 

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Step 3 — Last lantern is connected first 

• After stripping insulation, twist 
copper wires to tighten, then slide 
on the butt splice connector. 

• Use the crimp dies on your do-all 
tool to smash the connector to your 
pre-cut, pre-sripped wire. (The 
lantern wire is so fine that you need 
to fold it back on itself and twist to 
bulk it up so there is something to 
crimp to.) 

• Put lantern wires into the other side 
of the butt connector and crimp to 

• Is there a more elegant, more 
labor-intensive, longer-lasting 
solution like soldering and using 
shrink-wrap? Of course! Isn't there 
always a more artful method that 
requires greater dexterity, more 
experience, and additional tools? 

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Step 4 — Connect remaining lanterns 

• Twist one lantern wire to red and the other to black. 

• Then crimp a butt splice connector to each wire pair. 

• If your plan was to build a light string with only 2 lanterns, you are done! Otherwise, keep 
clipping, stripping, and crimping like an '80s hair salon. 

• Enlist helpers to construct 14 of these wire segment/lantern pieces. 

Step 5 — String lanterns together 

• The lanterns finished in the 
previous step are daisy chained 
one after another until the light 
string is complete. 

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Step 6 — Ding-Dong-Done! 

• Crimp the RadioShack Connector 
Repair Kit to the end of your lantern 
string and you are ready to connect 
the battery. 

• Cross your fingers! Did all the 
lanterns light? No big deal, I had a 
few duds, too. 

Step 7 — Troubleshooting 

• Disconnect battery before 
attempting repairs. 

• If none light: 

• Check that Connector Repair Kit 
connectors are tight to the 
lantern string. - Charge battery. 

• If some don't light: 

• Check the bulb. For any errant 
lanterns, cut off the butt splice 
connectors, re-strip wires, re- 

• If lantern blinks furiously: 

• Sounds like a blinker bulb - 
replace with a non-blinker. 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 01 , page 147. 

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st generated on 2012-1 1-03 03:52:47 AM. 

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